I need to know if thick LDPE can be successfully run through a thickness
planer. (I don't own one (yet), so I can't simply do a test run.)
Yes, this is an NG for WOOD, but there have been some great posts here
about cutting plastic by people with substantial experience using wood
power tools, so please excuse this post...
I have to cut 2" strips out of sheets of 1.75" LDPE. (The distributor cuts
the sheets down to about 19x48" so I can handle the weight and size in my
shop.) At that nominal thickness LDPE, the variations are substantial -
from 1.8" to 1.9". I need 1.75" w/ tolerance of about .02" - so I have to
then cut each strip again to get a uniform thickness. Cutting on the TS
has worked OK, but it leaves some saw marks. And, even with an elaborate
jig of rollers it is hard to keep each strip tight to the fence.
I use a WWII thin kerf blade with a 4" stiffener, which in my experience is
better than any "no-melt" blades".
Question: Would a thickness planer work on this LDPE or would I create one
big gooey mess? And, do you think it would feed OK? Compounding my
confusion - I have never before used a planer. TIA. -- Igor
I haven't worked with LDPE; but my experience with other PE
flavors makes me thick that:
The thickness planer whould work about as well as the saw,
provided that you make a sled to insure feeding properly.
You will probably have some snipe at the ends; and probably a
slight rippling from the knife cuts.
I have used my portable planer on delrin, teflon & UHMWPE successfully.
The blades on my planer are not in the best of shape & left slight wavy lines
in the surface in the feed direction.
IMO new / sharp blades should to the trick.
You'll be amazed at the volume of "chips" you'll generate.
Not IMHE. MDPE works much better.
LDPE is too "stringy" and has too much of a problem with melting
around the cut, giving a lousy finish. It may work for you (try it
anyway), but if it doesn't, try a polymer with a higher weight.
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